dear jake

My boyfriend won’t stop hooking up on Grindr

Dear Jake,

I met a great guy on Grindr. It was supposed to be just a hookup but we ended up getting to know each other and now it’s been about four months. It feels like a relationship. We hold hands, we cook dinner together, and, even during social distancing, we are still going out walking in the neighborhood. But he still goes on Grindr a lot. He says he’s just going on to chat, but most guys aren’t on there just to “chat.”

A few weeks ago, he showed me a guy who wanted to have a three-way. I really wasn’t into it. An hour later, I noticed he was still on Grindr after he left my house, but his location wasn’t very far away and his profile picture was next to the guy he was talking about earlier. The next day he admitted that he hooked up with him. I was extremely upset and we came to an understanding that we would only play with others together.

Like I said, we’re not in a real relationship, even though we act like a couple. He doesn’t refer me as his boyfriend, but does say we are dating, and when I asked him if he was hooking up with anybody else, he said no. Yet he’s always on Grindr!

Fast forward again. He wanted to have another three-way and showed me some guy. After he left my house, I saw he was next to the guy on Grindr. I texted him immediately and asked what he was doing. He said it was just a coincidence and that nobody was next to him.

Am I wrong? How do I move past this? Or do I accept that we’re not in a relationship and I’m wanting too much when he’s clearly not looking for commitment? My heart and brain don’t see the match.

Sincerely,
Confused and Conflicted

Dear Confused and Conflicted,

Relationships can be tricky to navigate, but one thing that’s for sure is that both parties in a couple need to be on the same page when it comes to the rules of monogamy.

Even though you say it’s not a “real” relationship, the tenants of clear communication still stand. It’s great that after you found out that he hooked up with someone else, you realized that it bothered you and had a conversation about being exclusive. Now it’s up to both of you to stick to those rules, otherwise, they need to be renegotiated.

If you aren’t into having threesomes, you should probably let him know. And if he still wants to wade in the GrindR pool, he should be honest about that too. (Side note: Should anyone really be hooking up on Grindr during a pandemic?)

Also, the basis of a relationship is trust. He admitted in the past he hooked up with someone else, but that was before you talked and set the rules. Ask yourself if he’s ever given you a true reason not to trust him, and if not, move forward as if he is being truthful. If you’re pretty sure he’s being dishonest, you may need to have a conversation to ask him again how he feels about commitment, and possibly renegotiate the rules.

You can’t make your partner commit to anything he isn’t ready for. If ultimately, he’s not into the kind of relationship you want, then you have a choice. You can either decide you’re okay with something more light and non-committal, or you may want something more serious at this time.

If he’s not on the same page, it might be time to move on. You deserve to have what you want, and you won’t be able to simply ignore feelings of hurt or betrayal if you’re feeling them. Make sure you aren’t settling for less just because the pickings are limited right now. You don’t want to stay in a relationship and feel resentful.

Talking through things here seems imperative. Make a point to sit down, hash out your feelings authentically, and confirm that you are both on the same page. If he’s not the right guy for you, you’ll be making space for one that is.

You deserve it all,
Jake

Jake Myers is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy.

Do you have a question for Jake? Email [email protected]